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NComputing is changing the rules of desktop virtualization with its
proprietary all-in-one solutions, allowing solution providers to
deliver high-performance desktop virtualization solutions at a fraction
of the cost of competitors such as VMware and Citrix.

NComputing developed its own desktop virtualization software and
associated hardware appliances in-house, allowing its solution
providers a one-stop solution for customers in markets as diverse as
education, manufacturing and for enterprise customers with multiple
branch offices, says Carsten Puls, vice president of strategic
marketing at NComputing.

“We developed a disruptively low-cost solution that provides not
just the software but also the hardware, and because we developed and
manufacture that in-house, solution providers can get to a very low
acquisition price,” he says. “That makes it ideal for any size customer
– from small, just-getting-started businesses to major corporations,”
he says.

Better-known players such as VMware and Citrix certainly have their
own virtual desktop solutions, says Puls, but they rely on the addition
of third-party hardware, which can often drive up the cost of such
solutions as well as introduce unnecessary complexity.

“The other players tend to fall into two categories: either
providing virtualization software or hardware. These products just
aren’t enough for customers on their own, and when you add up the
per-seat price of software with the added hardware components, you get
an acquisition price that’s higher than standard, traditional PCs,” he

Often, that cost ends up being around $1,000 per user, whereas with
the NComputing solution, prices range from $70 to $200 per seat.

Puls says the key is recognizing that individual PCs now have excess
capacity and power that far surpasses what the average user needs. The
company’s software works by installing an agent on host machine
connected to as many as 30 additional PCs, and creating multiple
workstations that function like sessions, he says, harnessing the extra
power from those PCs to create multiple virtual environments.

NComputing’s proprietary user extension protocol (UXP) delivers the
desktop experience and protocol across a variety of mediums, so users
get the look and feel of an actual desktop PC, he says. NComputing’s
access hardware is an incredibly small, energy-efficient appliance
about the size of a deck of cards, Puls says.

By combining these components, NComputing allows solution providers
to deliver a virtual desktop experience using very low-cost, entry
level PCs as both the host and the clients, he says.

“The example that we use in our executive briefing center here is a $360 Dell PC that’s used to run 11 seats,” he says.

NComputing offers two product lines: the X-Series, which creates a
direct connection between the host and client computers, and the
L-Series, which connects host and clients via Ethernet.

The X-series uses a PCI card for interconnection, and requires that
host and client machines be within 10 meters of each other. The
L-series is better suited for manufacturing environments or for larger
enterprises with branch offices. The L-series can connect up to 30
users from a single host using a networking switch. Both can be
installed and deployed within about 15 to 20 minutes, Puls says, making
the solution a great fit for solution providers whose customers want to
see fast ROI.

The X-series proximity requirement along with its low cost of $70
per seat makes it ideal for education settings, Puls says, and in fact,
that’s where many of NComputing’s solution providers sell.

Eight percent of new computing purchases for K-12 school and
universities are from NComputing, says Puls, and the company’s sold 1.2
million seats in the last two years. IDC research says NComputing is
the third-largest provider of thin-clients after only Hewlett-Packard
and Wyse Technology.

While NComputing’s solutions ship with built-in management software,
the solutions are completely compatible with existing third-party
management software, says Puls.

“We made it a point to partner with third-party systems that
customers already have,” he says. “We work with standard Linux and
Windows operating systems and peripherals, too; we don’t want customers
and solution providers to have to make further purchases or spend time
learning new software,” he says.